Once upon a time a football club was born. That club happens to be my club and your club. That club is Barnstaple Town.

Brought up through the decades on a diet of good management, incredible support and a dedicated band of volunteers the club was able to celebrate it’s centenary in 2006.

Of course dark times have descended over Mill Road down the years – the embarrassment of relegation twice and on many occasions not enough coins to ‘top up’ the meter.!

The early post war years saw the trophy cabinet bulging thanks to the managerial genius that was Arthur Coles. Bryan Hill and his assistant Dave Baglow assembled a side that lifted the Western Football League Premier Division in 1980. The same Bryan Hill returned in later years and assisted by Paul Hillier they took Barnstaple Town back into the Western Football League Premier Division as Champions of Division One.

The club then saw the arrival of Barry Yeo as Manager ably assisted by Karl Baggaley. The duo were presented with the task of getting the club back into the Premier Division of the Western Football League following relegation in 2013.

What they and the players have achieved over the past 3 years has been an unbelievable journey. Champions of the Western Football League Division One in 2014-15 – smashing a total of 14 records on route. Followed by runners-up spot in the Premier Division season 2015-16 and subsequent promotion to the Southern Football League Southern Division One South & West. A more than satisfying mid-table finish looks likely on their Southern League debut.

Forget Brexit, forget the fact that Arsene Wenger might leave Arsenal or former England Manager Roy Hodgson is lined-up for Strictly this coming winter – the town of Barnstaple should stand back and applaud the achievements of Barry, Karl and the playing staff.

Absolutely brilliant and all done with local based players.

In the not too distant future I would like to see the club acknowledge the achievements of the three aforementioned. Maybe a picture gallery or some form of plaque.

Arthur Coles – Bryan Hill – Barry Yeo. Thanks for the memories

John Clarke


Comments are closed.